trekwriter151: (phlox)
[personal profile] trekwriter151
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Don't make money off 'em.

Notes: Okay, this was going to be my entry for Sickbay Month, but it kinda stretched itself to more than one chapter. I wanted to write about Phlox, Feezal and their extended family on Denobula. We met Feezal in "Stigma", but other than that, there had been hardly any mention about Phlox's family in the series. We don't really know about Denobulan customs or ceremonies.

So I made 'em up for this story. So read and enjoy! Oh, and this is set sometime in the years between "Terra Prime" and "TATV".

Rating: T
Five Weddings (and a Funeral for my Sanity) aka A Family Reunion in Sickbay
One


"Doc, you never told me she was comin' back!"

Phlox chuckled and gave Commander Tucker one of his wide grins. "Feezal is the main developer of the new Sickbay upgrades, Commander. She will supervise their installation when we're docked at Jupiter Station."

"Ah. So she'll be pretty busy with the upgrades, then?"

The Denobulan wondered at the hopeful tone in the engineer's voice, but replied, "I'm sure most of her time will be spent here, in Sickbay, but I'm sure she will find the time to visit with old friends. So, there, Commander—" Phlox finished applying the dermal regenerator to Tucker's arm, "—how does that feel?"

"Just like new, Doc. Thanks." Tucker flexed his hand and smiled at the results. "Well, I gotta get back to work. Say hi to Feezal for me when she comes aboard, will ya? I'm gonna be up to my eyeballs with the warp engine upgrades and I won't be around a whole lot."

"I'll relay your good wishes, Commander," Phlox promised. "I'm sure she will appreciate the sentiment."

"Thanks, Doc."

Phlox watched the engineer leave Sickbay and thought, It was nice of the commander to think about Feezal, even when he must be so busy with the new Warp Seven engine. I will definitely let her know about his good wishes. Now that Tucker was romantically involved with Commander T'Pol, Phlox knew that there was no chance that Tucker would accept another relationship with Feezal, even if Feezal asked again.

I understand that the Commander was raised not to enter into a relationship with another man's mate. I didn't understand the rationale at first, but now I do. A pity. Humans can be quite limiting of themselves in certain areas of their society. Phlox shrugged and remembered T'Pol's quote, "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations." Perhaps it would be a mantra that he would do well to remember.

He brought his attention to the message Feezal had sent ahead of her arrival. Unlike her regular messages, this one was in her own handwriting, in Denobulan script. Usually, that meant it was personal news about her and their extended family. Phlox grinned; she kept track of all their relatives with ease. It was that wonderful, scientific mind, he thought, that was able to compartmentalize all the various bits of information into a cohesive whole.

My love, she had written, I am so looking forward to seeing you again during the refit of Enterprise's Sickbay. While I am eager to show you all the advances we've made in the past several years, there are other, more personal, news I must share. As Doctor Lucas would say, perhaps "you should sit down; this could be quite a doozy."

Phlox chuckled. So, Feezal had picked up some Earth expressions from Jeremy Lucas. Such an open mind; no wonder she'd been so attracted to Commander Tucker on her first visit here.

Second cousin Floos has finally proposed marriage to his future third wife, Anrias. You remember her...the architect? Unfortunately, that means that Floos's previous third wife has left him and taken up residence with Lopnuz, that spoiled brat of a administrative sneak. Frankly, love, I would have asked your dear Commander Tucker to dump industrial waste on him, or your dear Lieutenant Commander Reed to stuff him in one of his weapons bays and shoot him into a star.

"Floos is getting married again?" Phlox clucked his tongue. "To Anrias? This will be interesting."

Right after that, Yutis announced her betrothal to Idrmu. And Okrna to Pletzin. And Opur to Kirltan. And Ghroris to Nubrie. Can you imagine? Five weddings??????? Needless to say, your first and second wives are in complete shock, not to mention ecstasy. About time, I'd tell them. You first wife's two children and your second wife's two children, marrying all within the space of a month, in addition to Second Cousin Floos! I am grateful that both you and I will be away from Denobula during this time. It will be utter chaos!!

"Yes," Phlox murmured. He covered his eyes with his hand. Very, very grateful.

To top it all off, Shastia died last week, right before I left for Jupiter Station. You know how your first wife's family loved their matriarch. She was alive for the better part of five centuries, you understand. In any case, a little sorrow among the joy. So they've been in seclusion for three days, with two more to go. The family wants to give her a grand funeral, grander than anyone in the city has seen since—well—ages.

Phlox rolled his eyes and muttered, "Oh, Feezal, what did you do now?"

I mentioned the fact that you and I will be at Jupiter Station and would not be able to attend the various ceremonies. But Azkiel (your first wife, remember?)...the woman would not hear of us missing the "important parts". So she managed to convince the Patriarch to bring the family for a brief visit to Jupiter Station and have us witness everything in one day. And not only that, in your brand new, upgraded Sickbay aboard Enterprise.

Everything. The whole family. One day. In your Sickbay. My love, I nearly screamed in horror.

Luckily, I will be there ahead of them to assist you in the preparations and explain to Captain Archer about our...predicament. I must go now...the medical frigate is here.

Until later,

your darling,

Feezal.

Phlox sat back in his seat, his eyes wide. Then he did what Feezal wished she could do.

He screamed at the top of his lungs in complete and utter dismay, and at that moment, he didn't care just who heard him.

*****


He cared about five minutes later.

Much to his chagrin, someone had overheard and called Security, who called Ensign Bernhard Mueller, who called Lieutenant Commander Reed, who called Captain Archer. All three men, plus Lieutenant Hoshi Sato-Reed, rushed into Sickbay, expecting some kind of alien incursion or some mad crewmember tearing down the walls. To their utter shock and surprise, they found Doctor Phlox sitting on the floor of his office, his arms wrapped around his legs, rocking back and forth and keening under his breath.

"Um...what's wrong with him?" Captain Archer whispered. He stared at Phlox as if the Denobulan was about to explode like some kind of bomb.

"Phlox?" Hoshi called softly. She knelt next to him, just close enough to announce her presence without touching him. "What's wrong?"

Phlox stopped keening and began laughing. He gazed up at the bewildered audience above him. "Forgive me, Captain. I just received some utterly disturbing news from home."

Hoshi's eyes widened. "Oh, no."

He shook his head. "It's not what you think, Lieutenant. I received a message from my wife, Feezal, and, well, it's quite complicated to explain. Her message is on the PADD."

She accepted the PADD from him, then read over the Denobulan script. Her mouth moved silently as she scrolled down to the next page. When it was over, she looked up at Phlox with a look of complete sympathy.

"Five weddings...and a funeral?"

"The funeral will be for my sanity, by the time this is all over," Phlox muttered.

Malcolm traded concerned glances with Captain Archer; it was unlike Phlox to be so pessimistic. Phlox caught the glance and said, "The children of my first two wives have decided to wed and the matriarch of my first wife's family has died. Denobulans have elaborate ceremonies for the milestones of one's life, such as marriage, the birth of children and death. Unfortunately, the timing of these events coincide with the upgrades to Enterprise."

"I can see where that might be a problem," Archer said in a soothing tone. "You and Feezal will be here during all the family events. Do you need some time off to attend all of them?"

Phlox shook his head. "Since Feezal and I will not be able to attend them on Denobula, Azkiel—my first wife—convinced the Patriarch of her family to bring the ceremonies to us."

Hoshi added, "To Jupiter Station and Enterprise. Specifically here, in Sickbay." She glanced at Phlox. "Just how many people are you expecting to come here?"

Phlox gave her a weak smile. "Azkiel, her two other mates and her two children about to get married. Zarial—my second wife—with her two other mates and her two children about to get married. The Patriarch, his third and surviving wife. The families of the soon-to-be spouses, Feezal, myself, two of my daughters..."

Bernhard Mueller, who'd been silent until now, muttered a German curse under his breath. "Gott in Himmel. This will be a nightmare."

Archer was still stunned. "All those people, here in Sickbay."

"Yes, Captain."

"And there's no way to convince your first wife...um..."

"Azkiel."

"Azkiel, to hold these ceremonies somewhere else?"

Phlox shook his head. "No, Captain. Once the Patriarch has made up his mind, well, the rest of the family follows suit. Now, he isn't the head of my immediate family, remember, so I could tell them not to come, but Feezal has pointed out that such an action would be...highly unusual in a Denobulan family, not to mention rude. Feezal was breaking protocol just in giving me advanced warning."

"Well, it seems that you'll be having some kind of family reunion in Sickbay, then," Malcolm said. His voice was sober, though his eyes twinkled in amusement. "We'll have to make the necessary security arrangements, of course."

Bernhard sighed and rolled his eyes, but he didn't object to his boss's statement. Archer gave Phlox a sympathetic nod. "You'll have to give all of us a crash course in Denobulan customs and ceremonies, Doctor. Hopefully, things will all go smoothly."

Phlox stifled his own sigh. He had a very bad feeling about all of this.




"I can sympathize with Phlox."

Hoshi raised an eyebrow and turned towards the helm station. Lieutenant Travis Mayweather handled the helm with the air of a seasoned professional. She knew he didn't like using the autopilot if he felt he didn't have to. If he had his way, he'd manually dock Enterprise with Jupiter Station. Unfortunately, station protocol didn't care for it, even if his skills were extraordinary.

"About family reunions, I mean." Travis looked at her over his shoulder. "We used to have one every year on Horizon. Everyone came by and it got to be kinda overwhelming. Horizon's not that big of a ship; imagine trying to find enough space for everyone to sleep! And there's the inevitable personality conflicts, too. My dad was the great peacemaker; I don't know how he did it." He paused and asked, "Will all of Phlox's family be here?"

"Not everyone, but we're still talking at least twenty-five people." She smiled and looked over the page of Denobulan etiquette. "Five weddings. Goodness...and a Denobulan wedding is a grand affair. Commander Tucker's trying to convert some extra space for the occasion. And—" Her console beeped with an incoming message.

"I still can't believe they're all coming here," muttered Bernhard Mueller from Tactical. He added some other colorful expressions in German under his breath.

"Yeah, I suppose it's a security nightmare, Bernhard," said Travis.

"Jawohl. And Mrs. Phlox asked for a personal escort when she's on board. For protection, she said. I have the feeling there will be more than just a conflict of personalities."

"An escort? That doesn't sound good."

"Ach, so. And she specifically requested someone as her escort."

"Commander Tucker?" Travis guessed. "Or Lieutenant Commander Reed?" He winced at Hoshi's snort of disdain. "Doesn't she know that Trip and Malcolm are, well, unavailable?"

"Doesn't matter to a Denobulan. They're pretty flexible when it comes to relationships," Hoshi deadpanned.

"But—" Travis's remark was interrupted by the sound of Captain Archer coming out of his Ready Room. "Captain."

Archer sighed and looked over at Hoshi with a resigned expression. "Put her on, Hoshi."

The screen switched from the approach to Jupiter Station to a familiar face. Travis sat up straighter at the sight of Feezal Phlox. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Bernhard trying to make himself as unobtrusive as possible.

"Captain Archer. It's a pleasure to see you again," Feezal said, an unnatural Denobulan smile on her face.

"And you, Mrs. Phlox," Archer replied, a complete gentleman. "Your husband is eagerly looking forward to your arrival."

"And I am looking forward to seeing him." Feezal inclined her head and added, "Ah, Ensign Mueller. I'm looking forward to meeting you as well. I'm sure that Lieutenant Commander Reed has the utmost confidence in your ability to keep me safe."

Bernhard flushed crimson. "Um...thank you, Mrs. Phlox."

Her face dimpled. "Ah, what is it with these Armory officers and the charming accents? It's enough to make a grown woman swoon." She brought her attention back to Captain Archer. "The medical frigate will dock with Jupiter Station in an hour. I will meet you in two hours."

"See you then." She nodded at Archer's gracious reply, then the screen went back to Jupiter Station.

There was a heavy silence on the Bridge. Travis turned to the Tactical Station to see poor Bernhard sitting there with his face in his hands. Archer went over to Mueller's side and put a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. "Bernhard...do you need an protective escort?"

"Maybe we ought to find him a wife in two hours," Travis suggested, not without sympathy.

"Kreuz, Birnbaum und Hollerstauden!" Bernhard cursed under his breath.

*****

Malcolm sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Arranging guest quarters was easier said than done; Phlox had been helpful in avoiding potential conflicts between the family members. Ensign Cutler had graciously lent her quarters to Phlox's two daughters and Feezal, while Crewmen Drake and Taliferro moved in with Crewmen Sanchez and Abernathy for the time being. It took the better part of an hour to find a suitable living arrangement for Phlox's clan.

"Malcolm, do you have a minute?"

He glanced over his shoulder to see Hoshi. "Always for you, love," he said warmly.

She smiled at him and replied, "How gallant of you, Malcolm. I think we might have a little problem."

He sobered immediately. "What kind of problem?"

Hoshi glanced around to make sure they were alone, then pulled him into Liz Cutler's former quarters. "Did you assign Bernhard to be Feezal's escort?"

"She specifically requested him." He gave her puzzled look. "Is that the problem?"

Hoshi sighed, rolled her eyes, and looked aggravated. "Did Trip ever tell you about when Feezal was last here?"

"He said that she'd been over friendly to him—"Malcolm stopped as he realized what she was implying. "Oh, bloody hell—did she tell you she's actually thinking about pursuing Bernhard?"

"Not in so many words, but she just finished talking with Captain Archer on the Bridge and Bernhard was at Tactical—" Hoshi shrugged. "Travis suggested finding him a wife in the next hour."

"God. I owe Bernhard an apology." Malcolm sighed and shook his head. "I can assign Brinkenwald to help him, make sure Feezal doesn't try anything...untoward. I'll warn Phlox too, and tell him that Bernhard's not...inclined to start any kind of relationship with his wife of all things."

"Phlox would tell you to encourage the poor man. Denobulans have an...interesting view of relationships in general."

"I'll talk to Bernhard and Johannes Brinkenwald. Hopefully, Johannes will be able to keep Feezal from getting her claws into our resident Bavarian." He nodded. "Thanks for warning me, Hoshi."

She smiled and kissed him. "You're welcome."

*****

Phlox stood in the middle of his Sickbay, supervising one of Trip's teams as they disconnected some of the medical equipment. He sighed as he imagined the new diagnostic tools to come, the improved biobeds, the wonderful additions to his menagerie. His eldest daughter, the surgeon, said she was bringing some new animals from Denobula, ones she had found helpful in her own practice.

Ah, Lailah, I am so looking forward to seeing you again. And Treesal, his other daughter, a biochemist, was bringing the results of her latest experiments. "Like father, like daughters," as Feezal was fond of saying. If it were only Feezal and the girls, he would be ecstatic with joy. But with Azkiel and Zarial, and their children about to wed...and Shastia's funeral ceremony—

He winced. Well, at least he'd see the ones he hadn't seen in years; not all of the family were as...well, interesting...as Azkiel and Zariel and their kin. His first and third wives were unique in their own ways. Azkiel was a botanist, who handled flora with the preciseness of a scientist and the heart of an artist.

*****

"This ush-ra blossom reminds me of you, Phlox. Full of life and proud, eager for new adventures." She gave him the plant, with its purple and cream-colored petals. Its main blossom was the size of his hand, still in full bloom, even after three days off the vine.

"I thank you, Azkiel," he'd replied as he sniffed the fragrant perfume. "I'll take this with me to San Francisco."

"I'm sure you'll learn many things to bring back to Denobula someday."

"I'll return...eventually." He smiled at her. "You will talk to Mettus?"

"He'll understand, Phlox..eventually. He listens too much to the Matriarch and her stories and she's putting all sorts of nonsense about the Antarans in his head. I'll make sure he doesn't get himself into too much trouble."

"Thank you, Azkiel."

*****

Mettus wasn't coming to this family affair; Phlox wasn't sure whether or not he was glad of his youngest son's absence. And Zariel...dear Zariel, with her creative flair on the stage...she was an extrovert in a family of introverts. Her operatic voice could hold an audience spellbound...or the attentions of her husbands.

"Looks like we've done what we can before your wife gets here, Doc."

Phlox brought himself back to the present. "I appreciate you taking the time to do this, Commander—"

"Not a problem, Doc," Trip replied. He wiped sweat from his forehead. "Gotta get back to Engineerin', though."

"Thanks again, Commander." Phlox sighed as the engineering team left Sickbay, leaving him in relative peace for a moment. He glanced at the remaining biobed and the other medical equipment still functioning. Experience had taught him to be vigilant, for the flow of patients didn't stop for a refit of Sickbay.

He narrowed his eyes at a series of scratches on the biobed frame, scratches he'd never noticed before. It took him a moment to realize they were a series of initials. MSR, LCDR. He grinned and thought, Ah, so that's the reason why Commander Tucker left this particular biobed alone. I'm not sure if Lieutenant Commander Reed will appreciate this act of thoughtfulness.

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trekwriter151

May 2012

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